Does using social media for your business bring you out in a sweat? Concerned you (or your employees) will say the wrong thing? Too busy to divert attention to the internet all day?
It’s ok, you’re not alone. In my time both employed and freelance I have come across many people who have these fears and more. In fact I was recently asked to speak on the subject at an event for the motor industry; the request was to talk about why businesses should be embracing it. The points I made are just as valid for any industry, though, so I thought I’d share them with you in the hope of allaying some of your fears and instilling some confidence to press on with it.
Let’s try and reason some of those concerns out to start…
“I don’t have the staff/time”
I’m not going to lie, it does take time. But there are numerous web-based platforms that are free or cheap ($59/month for Sprout Social’s professional service) and can help you monitor what people are saying a) in your area, b) about your chosen keywords and c) about you that you will find it easier than you thought to keep on top of it.
With platforms like HootSuite or Sprout Social you can also schedule tweets, posts and the like too so you don’t have to be doing it ‘live’ daily. Just allocate some time every week to setting up your tweets and the platforms do the rest.
You can also get mobile versions of these platforms so you can get notifications while you’re on the move or over the weekend. That way you can quickly respond and show a) you’re listening and b) you’re a real person.
“I don’t know how to go about it”
There is plenty of help out there, this blog is a good place to start! I help people every week with their social activity, training them and handling it for them. There are also lots of good books, webinars and local events about this hot topic.
Five years ago, I didn’t know much about how to use social media for good business effect (I was a dab hand it using for myself) but I found that it is mostly common sense.
“There are so many platforms, I can’t manage them all!”
You don’t have to be on all platforms all the time. I advise clients to research where their customers are (survey them, ask them in the shop) and focus on those platforms. And set one up at a time. Get used to it and, only when you feel you have the capacity to add another, add it.
For example, if you are B2B (business to business) then I wouldn’t focus on Facebook; instead look more at LinkedIn. If you’re in retail, however, Facebook is probably a good bet. Very visual products work well on Instagram or Pinterest.
“I’ll say the wrong thing”
It just proves you’re human if you do! The main thing is, if you make a mistake or say something inappropriate, apologise, admit your mistake and correct it as soon as possible. Use this rule…would I say it out loud or in person? If not, then don’t say it on social media.
And don’t remove bad testimonials or reviews just because they’re bad. Respond to them and try to resolve the issue so you can show other customers how you deal with problems.
Reasons why you should be embracing social media
- The UK is the most social country in the world – 52% of us use social and 36% of us interact with brands socially
- At last count Facebook had 31 million users and Twitter had 15 million – that’s a big marketplace
- Your customers are using social, so you should be
- Just because you’re not using it, it doesn’t mean no one’s talking about you
- Think of all the lost sales opportunities
Top tips for going social
- Assign resource – men, money and minutes
- Define your objectives for going social (and don’t just think in terms of making money)
- Find your customers – research where they hang out
- Identify what you can talk about – what different topics/subjects relate to your business
- Set up a management platform
- Measure your social success – develop some KPIs (key performance indicators) based on your objectives